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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT RICH & MARKUS REUTER: Lift a Feather to the Flood (2017)

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

“One learns to love Lift a Feather to the Flood only if we are looking for experimental and abstract music”

1 We Shed the Remnants of Last Winter 7:13 2 Twining Branches Make a Path 9:53 3 Glistening on wet Tarmac 5:45 4 Seedlings Push Through Cracks 8:19 5 These Storms Cast Shadows on the Ocean 7:41 6 We Once Forgot 10:24 7 That We Were Made of Stars 8:16 8 We Will Walk Away Unscathed 8:24 Soundscape ‎| SP030

(CD/DDL 65:56) (V.F.) (Ambient, abstract music)

A piano note bursts and its radiance brings a melancholy glow to the hermit synth waves which oscillate like those winds drawing arabesques on the dunes. Pensive, Robert Rich spreads his notes which fall like sonic dominoes in accordance with the visions of a title like We Shed the Remnants of Last Winter. Personified by these harsh waves of Markus Reuter's Guitar Touch or Prophet-6 synth, the winter seems to have been more bitter than the rest! When Robert Rich and Markus Reuter united their musical destinies for the first time, it was in 2007 with the album Eleven Questions. The visions of the two artists had unblocked into an album of atmospheres and tribal rhythms with a more experimental touch for the time. Ten years later, the duo puts it back with a much more ambient album. With a thoughtful Robert Rich on piano and a Markus Reuter sculpting spectral ambiances. Composed in 2 days, LIFT A FEATHER TO THE FLOOD is an album of improvisations which cling onto the visions of two musicians who love to shake up the order of things. At the same time intimate and egocentric, the music flirts with a latent aggressiveness which reaches peaks of intensity in the tones and not in the rhythms which are quite non-existent. An album difficult to define and to tame which is addressed to those who like when a piano is fading its melancholy in a shower of dissonant sound effects which against all odds reaches the level of the piano emotivity. Showing that the union of Robert Rich & Markus Reuter is something other than pure chance.

If the music is of atmospheric elements, the particles which compose it can contain elements of rage as in Twining Branches Make a Path where the piano bursts forcefully while synth and / or the guitar blades shear these atmospheres like abrasions of foils made with grace. Glistening on wet Tarmac brings us closer to the works of ambience that Robert Rich made with Steve Roach. Ditto for Seedlings Push Through Cracks where the piano is more melodious in its envelope of nostalgia. Dark and tenebrous, the tranquility of These Storms Cast Shadows on the Ocean is swept by crumpled metal waves. The piano becomes just as dissonant as it is shaken with fear by these waves rolling like flocks of ragged blades. We Once Forgot offers a more psychedelic approach with circular beats designed with oscillating waves rolling like spirograph patterns which hypnotize the senses. Always phlegmatic behind his piano which seems to be so far away from the effects of Mark Reuter, Robert Rich unrolls his notes without attachment or harmonic visions. That We Were Made of Stars is a little in the same mold, even if different lines of piano sculpt decaphonic landscapes and even if Markus Reuter is wiser with his abstract tonal art. We Will Walk Away Unscathed sounds so out of track! It's a little gem of tenderness with a very melodious piano which sinks its nostalgia into a symphony of tonal buzzing and corrosions.

Indeed, Robert Rich & Markus Reuter get along as thieves in fair in this universe of discordances where some elements converge while others are completely ignored. One learns to love LIFT A FEATHER TO THE FLOOD only if we are looking for experimental music. Abstract too, with a zest of melancholy which takes brief harmonic paces, this music is comfortably wrapped in a mixture of synth pads and guitars in the colors of a sky witnessing infernal fires. As if the perception of some does not go with the vision of others!

Sylvain Lupari (February 28th, 2019) ***½**

Available at Robert Rich's Bandcamp

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